Is Chocolate Really Bad for Dogs?

Chocolate in moderation has proven to be healthy for people, especially dark chocolate. It contains good sources of fiber, magnesium, and antioxidants. I became curious as to whether or not it was also healthy if consumed by dogs. My own dog consumed an entire bag of Hershey kisses and was not at all harmed. It was to my family and I’s surprise because we had so often heard how toxic it can be to them. Whether this was by mere chance or if chocolate really does have no effect on dogs is the ultimate question.

5450511_G

Chocolate is in fact considered to be poisonous to canines, and it is a very urgent matter if they consume it. The effects that chocolate can have on them are extensive. More than likely they will immediately throw up, but if they do not the vet will give the dog medication to do so. It is important to try to get as much of the chocolate out of the system as possible. Throwing up is also an indication that the dog did indeed have chocolate. Other symptoms may include extreme thirst, excessive energy, pacing, panting, shaking, and seizures. These may occur up to 6-12 hours after the consumption so if there is any chance that the dog consumed chocolate the vet should be consulted immediately. Not only will the vets use apomorphine to force the vomiting, but they will also pump the stomach to flush it with fluids, and use a certain medication to stop the chocolate from entering into the bloodstream.

chocolate-toxicity-chart-pets

The part of the chocolate that is harmful to dogs is known as theobromine. It is a type of stimulant similar to caffeine. It stimulates the central nervous system, cardiovascular system, and can cause an increase in blood pressure. Humans and dogs have different body systems, and ours allow us to easily metabolize this component in chocolate. For dogs however, it takes a lot longer and can result in the stimulant building up to toxic levels. How poisonous the chocolate will be to a dog depends on the pet’s size, the amount consumed, and the type. As one would expect, large dogs can consume a larger amount than small dogs before experiencing any effects. If only a small amount is consumed, usually the dog will only suffer from vomiting. On the contrary, large amounts of theobromine in the system can produce anything from muscle tremors to severe internal bleeding or a heart attack. Dogs that are older in age may suffer fatal consequences because they are unable to handle the effects that theobromine has on the body. For humans, dark chocolate is deemed to be the healthiest type yet for dogs dark chocolate and cocoa contain the highest levels of theobromine. Milk and white chocolate have the lowest.

dogs-various-02

To conclude, the consumption of chocolate is indeed considered to be poisonous to canines. It contains the stimulant known as theobromine which is unable to be metabolized thoroughly and quickly enough before reaching toxic levels. The effects will vary depending on the type of chocolate, the amount consumed, the size of the dog, and the age. However, it is for certain that if a dog consumes chocolate the vet should be contacted immediately to try to resolve the issue as fast and efficiently as possible. My dog consumed Hershey’s milk chocolate which already has a smaller quantity of theobromine. Although he had a relatively large amount, my dog was a large golden retriever and able to withstand more than a smaller dog would have. It was more than likely by chance that he survived without suffering any consequences at all. Next time, we may not be so fortunate so I will follow through with the proper medical treatment.

Source 1

Source 2

Source 3

5 thoughts on “Is Chocolate Really Bad for Dogs?

  1. Hung Chieh Wang

    I have a dog, she is quite small and she always come to us when we are eating. There is one time when my young sister was eating chocolate while hold my dog in her hands. my sister put the chocolate on the table, and my dog just quickly eat one of the chocolate. After knowing that, we are all very nervous. But in the end, nothing happen to her and we are all very happy. Here is the source I found about the how chocolate can harm dogs dog owners’ digest

  2. Jonathan Solimano

    I found this blog very interesting because I own two dogs and have always feared them eating chocolate. I always make sure that there is none on the floor, and when there is some in the house, they can’t reach it. Upon doing research on this topic, I found the same ideas that you did. Theobromine is the danger to the dogs as it raises blood pressure substantially and their bodies cannot handle it as well as our bodies can. The rapid heart rate from this could end up leading to the death of the dog. I think it certainly depends on the dog, but I will try to keep the chocolate away from mine as best as possible. I found my info here (http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2011/02/why-chocolate-is-bad-for-dogs/).

  3. Millie Rachel Dweck

    This is so interesting! I have always had a fear of giving my dog chocolate, and know I actually know why! Your topic actually coincides with one of my blog post about animal testing. This shows that humans and animal bodies work differently; so should science continue to test hypothesis on animals rather than humans? Im so happy I read your blog! Nice job!

  4. Haley Amanda Toadvine

    Great blog! This article outlines some of the reasons why chocolate is so bad for dogs and while I was reading it I was surprised to find that the darker the chocolate, the worse it is for your dog. This is because methylxanthines are the ingredient in chocolate which makes dogs sick and darker chocolate contains more methylxanthines than does milk chocolate. Interesting that while dark chocolate is healthier for humans than milk chocolate, it is the exact opposite for our pets.

  5. Brooke Kaiden

    I love my dog, but he is crazy. Even at age 9 he is jumping on the couch, humping everyone who walks into the house, and as we like to call it in my family, he tablesurfs. He tries to get anything he lays his eyes on. Last year I was selling candy specifically chocolate bars for a fundraiser in my school and while I was out he got the whole bad and ate every piece of candy that was in there. There were around 20 bars/ packets of candy and my dog ate everything including the wrapper. My mom was worried when she saw this and called me crying because we heard that chocolate is bad for dogs. We called the vet and they said if he throws up it is good and to not give him water. We were so worried that my dog was not going to make it but after a couple of hours there was dog vomit all over the place so luckily everything was okay besides the stained duvet in my moms room. So when people say that chocolate is deathly to dogs I say not to my dog because he has a stomach of steel. The conclusion that I can support is that chocolate makes a dog very sick, but it didn’t cause any serious harm for my dog.

Leave a Reply